World Coaches Body Backs WADA To Take Over Anti-Doping Testing From FINA & Co

The head of coaching bodies World and American has written to David Howman, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to encourage the watchdog to take over the job of testing from international federations that “lack credibility”

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The head of coaching bodies World and American has written to David Howman, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to encourage the watchdog to take over the job of testing from international federations that “lack credibility”

Comments

Ger

It sounds like a huge logistical operation for WADA to take over this worldwide testing. How big is it now, and how big would it need to be in terms of staff numbers to carry out this task? Then, there is the question of funding.
It would be great if it happens.
Being tested only once during 12 months is a joke. There should be a minimum number of tests required during this period, or an athlete would not be allowed to compete, in my opinion.

Craig Lord

I believe the suggestion is, in simple terms, for governments to be asked to contribute to a fighting fund to make this possible by bolstering WADA’s budget, Ger (among other measures being discussed)

commonwombat

What would be needed is:
(1) at least 1-2 of the BIG international federations to go “all in” with WADA, not just on paper. This may include $$$$. FINA would be one; IAAF (track and field); UCI (cycling). In some cases, major stake-holders may need to also be parties (ie race promoters such as ASO in cycling who control races like TdF, major 1day races). What may be problematic in the American originated sports is that international competition is “an afterthought” and the international federation having zero jurisdiction over pro leagues who are likely to thumb their nose at “furriners stickin their noses into ‘Merica’s game”

(2) With regards to governments; you would need to have the catalyst of major sporting nations willing not only to sign onto agreements but have their national testing authority fully compliant. Whilst we could see certain countries “on that page”; USA is problematic given the NON-role of the federal government in sports administration and funding. Here it would be a sport by sport progression

pegasus523

Certainly a step in the right direction, but with a daunting obstacle: funding, well noted.

A recent report estimated consolidated testing costs at $1billion USD over an Olympic cycle. WADA currently has an operating budget of $26million USD– quite a gap to fill– with several of the challenges noted by others.

The upcoming WADA Exec Comm meeting should be interesting!

Craig Lord

Thanks for those figures, Pegasus. I do think it possible to insist that federations pay for the service from their budgets as they do now but without retaining control over the process. That $1bn could be reduced greatly if high throughput were to work out the way experts suggest it can (and does in other realms).

pegasus523

Craig, et al……….I don’t mean to sound cavalier at all on this topic and the challenges ahead. We must however, understand the somewhat unbelievable obstacles.

The average cost of testing has been quoted elsewhere as $800 USD/test. There were 283,304 tests worldwide in 2014, giving the $226million USD figure. Reducing that $$$ cost without reducing testing should be a primary objective, as you encourage.

It may be that the cost to the international federations– $30 million annually?– drives a needed step to the ditch. Ad as noted here and elsewhere……….will IFs relinquish results management control with so much $$$ in the game?

Yozhik

Such a huge amount of dollars. Wow! Instead of testing everybody around multiple times use one third of it to hire private investigation companies and bounty hunters. Being paid only if they catch a cheater they will easily find all of them (and even more 🙂 ) Such approach will be much cheaper because their tests won’t be random but based on preliminary collected information.
It’s a haven – pharmaceuticals run research and create drugs, drug dealers distribute them, cheaters get prizes, Wada is paid for testing mostly innocent people. Everybody in this chain are profitable and nobody is interested to break this circle.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, you sum up one of the critical stumbling blocks of the entire system. When I raised that with a key figure in FINA, the answer was ‘we have to trust people’. I suggest we have trusted people – and the history of sport is stacked high with the stuff of some of them having trampled all over that trust like cows leaving a barn on the first morning of a sunny spring. The interest and industry of it all is a cycle that has to be broken somehow.

Craig Lord

Yes, Pegasus, huge obstacles BUT there is no reason why Ifs cannot be obliged to fund a critical cost – on threat of losing their status to serve as the governing body of any particular sport. If the IOC wants that and WADA, backed by a central govt funding system, is placed where it needs to be, what exists can be what continues in terms of where the money comes from. If Ifs want clean sport, as they purport, they will have no trouble handing over the money, which, say in the case of FINA, is most certainly available. For IFs, this cost (and yes, it ought to be reduced with a more efficient approach to testing) ought to viewed like you and I see an electricity or water bill: an essential service we can’t function without.

Markus B.

Dear Craig,

Any current test regime, wether WADA or FINA is largely useless anyway.

In Germany the numbers (see NADA annual report 2014) were like:
– More than 8600 in training doping tests
– with exactly 25 positiv results

This tiny little number of positive results is within the error margin of any biochemical scientific analysis method.

Several large social science studies indicate a doping usage of between 10 to 25 % of athletes.

If this is true, it means that ANY CURRENT DOPING CONTROL REGIME IS USELESS!!

Unless there will be some really significant improvements in analytical chemistry methodology there is no real chance to find any of the most modern doping substances.

My personal opinion: WADA has not been invented to catch cheats. It is there to give the big money sport business a more respectable image.

Craig Lord

Markus, I think you make good points. Taking testing away from federations that have really not been serious in their efforts to catch cheating and have far too often defended those who are proven to have cheated, directly or otherwise, is a good thing. But you’re right about the creation of an industry – and more could be done to be more efficient and reduce the bill, as well as taking measures to target those who achieve at the helm of their sport in a way that has a great many folk shaking their heads and wondering ‘how the hell is that possible?’
It will be interesting to see what the WADA-commissioned report into Russia and the IAAF blood files etc comes up with soon. That will tell us something more about the themes you raise.

Yozhik

Based on the doping suspicion no Russian runners will take start this year at New York marathon. (NYT)

Yozhik

@Markus B. Whenever some reference to some study is made it would be nice to provide the link to the source. Some journalists are giving even more scaring numbers (well beyond fifty percent) but again without any references provided. If such information is obtainable then what the Hell wada is doing. The cheaters’ superiority over wada is not because they are more scientifically advanced, but because
1. WADA has never been considered and designed as an investigation agency and has neither training nor experience of doing such job. As you mentioned, the information IS available and there are plenty of other than direct testing evidences to incriminate violators. It is not probably a nice forensic laboratory as well if it got beaten so many times. Are there any penalties or other forms of influence to improve WADA’s performance? If there is no control then what one can expect from such business?
2. They have no incentive but a good will to root out the problem. Sometimes I have feelings that in order to raise the importance of the job they are doing this is wada itself who generates rumors about massive doping abuse among athletes. WADA’s top officials provide impressive figures of cases they didn’t catch. How do they know that? Maybe they are reading your comments at swimvortex.
I agree with your personal opinion that the WADA is a nice decoration for the tough business behind. Absence of funds is just a nice excuse. So getting money from national DAs will not solve the problem at all but will make a money wasting process more spectacular and WADA’s life more comfortable.

Markus B.

About the correct study references…

Unfortunately I can only provides links to German articles:
http://www.fr-online.de/sport/doping-studie-betrug-ist-weit-verbreitet,1472784,3314042.html
http://www.zeit.de/sport/2015-08/leichtathletik-weltverband-haelt-doping-studie-zurueck
http://www.sport.uni-mainz.de/Preuss/mythos/der_deutsche_leistungssport_ist_sauber.html

Also interesting – an article about the effectiveness of micro dosage doping:
http://www.welt.de/wissenschaft/article140563369/Doping-zeigt-schon-in-Mini-Dosierung-enorme-Wirkung.html

A big problem for all studies is that only with a completely guaranteed anonymity the participants admit to doping usage. There are even special psychological studies about this effect.

Craig Lord

Markus B. Thanks for those. The anonymity issue is a tough one: the intention is to get a accurate picture of what’s truly going on – goo thing; but then when leaks such as those that happened in the early 2000s in Italy occur, clearly everyone who hears that champion A or X or F was among those who ‘tested positive for Y’ but got off on a technicality there is a vast loss of trust, a wave of skepticism follows.

Craig Lord

Yozhik, thanks for your points – two notes:
– no federation was designed to carry out testing, either… and most have a history of preferring to look away and excising what is obviously wrong (FINA and China in the 1990s one of the most blatant examples all-time, the politicians working against the advice and steer of their own experts, experts who were served warnings for speaking out about their findings – I know because I witnessed not and I have the evidence). WADA, like feds, would need to turn to those working in the realm of testing (and it certainly has access to those) but whoever oversees the whole thing should bring to an end the continuing practice of having testing agents phone ahead to warn of their arrival: huge abuse in the past, and is still happening today.
2. Just as credible as any suggestion that WADA is inventing likely cheating numbers to keep its shop open is the scenario that it is taking advice from around the world from those conducting ‘anonymity’ surveys; it is talking to investigators worldwide; it is talking to coaches and even journalists worldwide; it is seeing the obfuscation of federations play out before its very eyes; and it is coming up with a picture that tells it ‘we’re not catching nearly the numbers who are actually cheating…’

Yozhik

Thank you Markus and Craig. I think that similar discussion can be held by swimvortex. It looks like the more money spent to fight this beast, the stronger it becomes. To shame cheaters is important but also important to see where the roots are. What are the conditions that allow the “catch me if you can” mentality to flourish?
Anonymity. It is nice that such thing exists. The investigator has either to pay for the information, or to collect it anonymously. How do you think Amstrong got exposed. It started with the anonymous tip.

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